In the year ahead, content marketing, in all its shapes and forms, is going to become a more integral component of ones digital marketing strategy – if it already has not been. The value of including content marketing in your strategy and optimizing it for all channels, is crucial to the success of your content, as well as growing your online footprint.
But before we go any further, you’re probably wondering what exactly content marketing is! That is a great question. *By definition, content marketing is a marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. Content marketing’s basic premise is to “provide some valuable information or entertainment – “content” – that stops short of a direct sales pitch or call to action, but which seeks to positively influence customers in some way. In layman’s terms, content marketing is the form of communicating with your target audience in a way where you deliver information that is educational in nature and helps them to make a more informed decision. Instead of selling, you’re helping your target audience become more intelligent.
Now that we have established the definition of content marketing, what exactly are forms of content marketing? Another great question! Some forms of content marketing include but are not limited to social media (Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus), eNewsletters, articles, blogs, press releases,
and more. All of these mediums can be used to reach out to target audiences and be used to build trust, educate, interact with customers, or drive conversions. As I mentioned above, content marketing is not about pitching your products, but more so about educating your target audience in effort to help them make a more informed buying decision.
Content marketing is an effective way to get your message in front of your target audience while persuading them to take action. And, I firmly believe that as more households continue to become multi-screen households (televisions, computers, tablets/smartphones), traditional advertisement will become less and less effective. I say this because consumers have become so immune to traditional advertisements that they do not even notice them or they scan right over them. For example, Internet users typically look right past Internet banner ads while “surfing,” television viewers can fast forward past commercials with DVR, making each of these advertising vehicles less effective as time goes on. You’re probably wondering how I know this. Well, a few years ago, I decided to take a sabbatical from internet marketing and try my hand at selling broadcast television advertising. It was there that I learned how television viewers watch television and what objections advertisers had about television advertising. And it was a very hard gig.
I am also a firm believer that if businesses utilize content marketing and marry it with other digital marketing efforts, they would see outstanding results (again, personal view). Why? Because content marketing is a vehicle where you can offer value to customers and clients with a consistent message of education and persuasion, which in return would ultimately reward your content marketing efforts by them becoming loyal patrons of your business or establishment.
You’re probably wondering by now if I am going to offer any tips that can help you develop a content marketing strategy. Well, below are some tips to help you develop a successful content marketing strategy.
- Relevant, Ability to Share & Reusable: Develop content so it can be re-purposed down the road. The “blast and forget it” approach is not always the right approach. By giving your content a longer shelf life, you can help improve marketing efficiencies down the road. I want to mention that I am not recommending that you re-purpose the title and edit a few sentences. I am recommending that you use the same template, opening and closing paragraphs, and drop the new content in the middle.
- Context of Content: Understand your target audience and deliver your message according to their interests. Develop a message that is going to resonate with them and prompt them to take action. Content and understanding your target audience is crucial to the success of your content marketing.
- Adaptive: Again, make sure your content is consistent among all devices, as well provides the same user experience between computers, tablets, and smartphones.
- Social Engagement: While developing your content, it’s important to ensure that your content is “social friendly” and it allows users to consume it, engage with it, and share it. This can help build and improve your social footprints.
I would like to leave you with this last thought before I jet. Content marketing will only continue to morph into a larger component of digital marketing and it’s important that you develop a content marketing strategy should you not have one.
*Definition courtesy of Wikipedia